It’s so early and quiet here, barely the birds are chirping yet. No one moves about the house, not even my ‘Doodle’ dog. To the east, the sun is rising in painted chalk colors of corals and pinks against the blues of aqua. A pine branch brushes against my office window pane, startling me. Ooooh, I see the faint fluttering of robin wings! Suddenly, they take a flight to the right, gathering twigs of nearby trees. I’m in a room with the perfect view!
Such a sight reminded me of a long-ago spring when my children were young. They’d go off to school before I washed dishes at a green pepper sink beneath my kitchen window. To the left was a wooden door made of eight panes of glass. It led to a lovely covered patio where given the chance, I read a chapter from a cloth-covered book, sipped crushed iced tea or sneaked a nap before my children awakened me.
Hung from the ceiling, near a natural rattan chair, was a potted plant of bright red geraniums. Such a contrast the two colors were; the boring beige of the chair next to the radiant red of the beautiful, colored flowers. It looked like a picture from, Better Homes and Gardens. I used to tender the plant like another child, carefully watering it while plucking curled leaves from thriving ones, afraid they’d suck precious life away from the others.
One morning, two robins flew back and forth between the blue of the sky and my precious red geranium. They carried twigs and bits of cloth between their beaks. They were building a nest, I surmised. What was I to do? If I did not interfere, my treasured plant might die…if I did, where would future feathered babies be born?
My own motherly instincts gave in, allowing the birds to build their nest. Before long, I’d tip-toe to the nest nearly every day, where yet another egg of robin blue lay perfectly within its refuge of brown twine, twigs, and mud. Occasionally, I’d catch the mother sitting there, looking at me as if to say, “Who are YOU?” In the beginning, she flew away. In the end, she let me stay.
It wasn’t long before I heard the squealing and squawking of baby chicks from my window screen. Both mother and father robins took turns feeding their naked newborns who were barely able to lift wrinkled necks and bald heads. When not pecking for worms, Mother Bird sat on top, keeping her featherless young perfectly warm. Day after day, I grew enthralled by all of this. Yes, my plant of beautiful red geraniums was dying, but look at what I was living and learning!
The babies grew quickly with luck on my side because nature hadn’t taught them to fear me. I used to visit them, stopping by to say, “Hello,” or to tell them of my day. I even pet their soft feathers with a whisper of a tipped finger while their mother was away. Before doing so, I called the Wildlife Rescue Center who told me it was a “Myth” that birds can smell. I was bringing them no harm and careful in every way. Soon, I found myself attached to the fluffy, feathered balls. They were miracles to me, teaching me something new in ways one can never learn from a book.
Naturally, the day comes when a mother bird teaches her babies to fly, to leave the nest. I could see them from my window. Yes, I had a room with the perfect view…plus an added tear or two. One by one, each feathered friend stepped to the perched ledge of my geranium plant. Flapping golden wings lit by the sun in winds that only God can kiss, they lifted into the air. Some fell slightly before floating back up like little beige balloons. Up, up, up into the sky. I squinted high above against the sun to see patches of orange-red. Wistfully, I waved, “Good-bye.”
Turning to save what was left of my geranium plant, there at the edge of the ledge was a last little bird afraid to take the plunge. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, knowing in my heart that he too, must leave the nest. Off in the distance, his family called to him. They were not far, just a few feet away. It was as if they cheered him on. “Come’on, you can do it, we’re here waiting for you!” With that, the last little bird took the plunge. First down before up, until he soared off into the sky to meet his mother and father, sisters and brothers while I cried at my babies leaving the nest.
The next spring I purchased another geranium plant, hoping again that I’d have a room with the perfect view…..